Caldwell Eastern Standard
Waiting for me to burn it down after my week-long vacation in Las Vegas is the Caldwell Eastern Standard Euro Express.
The Good Stuff:
As I stated in my review of the Long Live the King, Caldwell cigars are non-existent in these parts, but thanks to our friends at Fox Cigar Bar I was finally able to wrangle up a few. Caldwell cigars is the brain child of Robert Caldwell who is best know for his partnership with Christian Eiroa running Wynwood cigars. Last year the partnership had dissolved and Robert has since teamed up with Henderson and William Ventura of Tabacalera Ventura in the Dominican Republic to create his newest blends. One note is that Caldwell cigars often uses rare tobaccos and vintages to create their blends. The Eastern Standard features a Connecticut Hybrid Ecuadoriano (Dark Connecticut), a Habana Dominicano Binder, and Criollo ’98 Viso Dominicano, Corojo Dominicano Ligero, and Habano Seco Nicaraguense fillers.
The Eastern Standard comes packaged in boxes of 24 and is offered in three standard sizes: The Euro Express (5.5 x 44), the Corretto (5 x 50), and the Cream Crush (48 x 7) running between $9 and $11 a stick. There is also one limited edition size called the Silk Road (7.5 x 40) which runs $12 per stick with only 500 boxes of 24 produced and features a tweaked version of the original blend. On top of that, there is a shop exclusive size out there called the Marble House (5 x 40) which features the same tweaked blend as the Silk Road, and is only available at Maxamar’s Ultimate Cigars of Orange, California which comes in boxes of 37 and runs $7.50 per stick. I got a handful of the Euro Express format over from our friends at Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, Arizona.
Size: 5.5 x 44
Wrapper: Connecticut Hybrid Ecuadoriano
Binder: Habana Dominicano 2005
Filler: Criollo ’98 Viso Dominicano 2008 (30%), Corojo Dominicano Ligero 2006 (30%), Habano Seco Nicaraguense 2007 (40%)
Pairing: Ommegang/Boulevard Spiced Saison (Saison 7.3% ABV)
I absolutely love the look of not only the bands, but the ruggedness of the Caldwell Cigars and the Eastern Standard is no exception. Starting with the rough, rugged texture the wrapper features a mix of medium to dark brown colors with some slight natural leaf webbing. The Eastern Standard carries some mild oils and a few larger veins running through the course of the cigar’s body to its round, stubby pig tailed, triple cap. The cigar is very firm and tightly packed with a bit of sponginess around the foot. The wrapper is a lot more dense than I come to expect with Connecticut leaf and is very firm to the touch. The Eastern Standard features a simple band with a sketched portrait of an older gentleman in black and white, surrounded by the words “Eastern – Live East” and “Standard – Die Young”.
The wrapper on the Caldwell Eastern Standard gives off almost no aroma. I really had to reach for it and all I pulled out was some soft cedar. The foot of the cigar is modest in aroma too but I was able to get some sweetness, spice, and natural tobacco from it. The cap cut clean and easily using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produced a really piney, cedary, grassy mixture of flavors with some slight pepper at the tail end of it. The cigar lit up clean and easy using my S.T. Dupont Maxijet lighter.
The first few puffs of the Caldwell Eastern Standard showcased some great, unexpended black pepper backed by a ton of sweet cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and earthiness. I wasn’t expecting the cigar to start out with as much flavor as it did. The draw on the Eastern Standard is awesome, each tiny puff kicks out massive clouds of very thick, white smoke which take forever to dissipate while the cigar gives off almost no stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is razor thin, and perfectly even leaving behind a trail of bright white ash which held up for an inch before falling into my ashtray.
The flavors in the Caldwell Eastern Standard have taken a step back into the second third, becoming milder and much more creamier. The cigar leads with some great cedar and brown sugar still with some nice creamed coffee notes, spice notes, and some slight grassy/earthiness buried in there. The retrohale rocks, coating my nasal passage with a really smooth cedar and cashew which I don’t really pick up in the standard experience. The cigar is still burning clean and even leaving me with absolutely no nicotine kick as I close out the second third.
The body and strength have ramped it up a bit into the final third of the Caldwell Eastern Standard. The cedar has turned into more of a musky oak while the spice and earthiness are still rocking on with some nice coffee underneath. There isn’t a lot of changeups in the flavor profile of this cigar, but the flavors have remained enjoyable. It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes to smoke this cigar down to the nub and I experienced absolutely no harshness nor any type of nicotine kick through the entire experience.
The Caldwell Eastern Standard is a great mild cigar. It’s not going to wow you in the flavor department, nor is it going to punch you in the face with strength, and that’s ok. Let the other cigars in their portfolio do that. The Eastern Standard delivers a solid smoking experience. While I tend to gravitate more towards bolder cigars, I can see having a few of the Eastern Standard in my rotation for the times I am craving a mild smoke, especially early in the morning or early afternoon. The price point is a bit high on this one for me, but that goes along with Caldwell’s reach into rare and limited tobaccos. Pick a few up, let me know what you think.
Tis the season for Saisons! That being said, there are two breweries in the U.S. who brew up Belgian style, Saisons like no other. Those two breweries are Ommegang from New York, and Boulevard from Kansas City and they both teamed up to create the 7.5% ABV Spiced Saison. The Spiced Saison is almost closer to a tripel in terms of flavor in my opinion, leading with lots of celery, citrus, banana, and brown sugar with a dense mouthfeel before finishing crisp with some nice lemon, caramel, and more fruity goodness. This was a refreshing pairing. It’s in the upper 80’s here so I wanted something that wouldn’t be too heavy while adding some great flavors to the Caldwell Eastern Standard and not overpowering it since it’s not the boldest smoke out there, and the Spice Saison was absolutely perfect. This cigar would also pair great with some black coffee, marzen, or a nice porter.